Detection of late pp67-mRNA by NASBA in peripheral blood for the diagnosis of human cytomegalovirus disease in AIDS patients

B S N Blank, P L Meenhorst, W Pauw, J W Mulder, W C van Dijk, P H M Smits, F Roeles, J M Middeldorp, J M A Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the value of late-pp67-mRNA nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) in comparison to DNA-PCR, blood culture and pp65-antigenemia assay for the detection of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) disease in HIV-infected patients.

METHODS: The results of pp67-mRNA NASBA, DNA-PCR, culture and pp65-antigenemia assay were compared in 402 whole blood specimens of 98 HIV-infected patients with a low CD4 lymphocyte count who had not yet received highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Thirty-seven samples were obtained from 30 patients with a diagnosis of HCMV disease and 365 samples from 68 patients without HCMV disease.

RESULTS: The highest agreement of test results was observed between pp67-mRNA NASBA and quantitative pp65-antigenemia, with a threshold of nine antigen-positive cells/10(5) leukocytes (kappa-value 0.70, 95% CI=0.58-0.82). The sensitivity of pp67-mRNA NASBA for the diagnosis of HCMV disease (59.3%) was identical to that of the quantitative pp65-antigenemia assay, higher than that of the blood culture (48.2%) but lower than that of the DNA-PCR (77.8%). Pp67-mRNA NASBA (92.3%), quantitative pp65-antigenemia assay (92.3%) and blood culture (93.9%) were highly specific for the diagnosis of HCMV disease and as a result, had a higher positive predictive value (76.2, 76.2 and 76.5%, respectively) than the qualitative DNA-PCR (58.3%) and the qualitative pp65-antigenemia assay (47.6%).

CONCLUSION: pp67-mRNA NASBA, an easy and rapid to perform assay, well-standardised by virtue of co-amplified internal system control RNA, provides a high specificity and positive predictive value for the diagnosis of HCMV disease in HIV-infected patients, comparable to that of the quantitative pp65-antigenemia assay and blood culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of clinical virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections
  • Adult
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Amplification
  • HIV Infections
  • Humans
  • Journal Article
  • Male
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Viral
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Viral Matrix Proteins

Cite this